Has Amy Oestreicher finally gotten that which she dreamed of? As a child, like so many other kids who feel somehow inadequate or unloved, she fell into a make-believe world of fame and glory. What Amy didn’t know was that there is often a price to pay for such rewards. Through the manipulation and abuse of an older Svengali type of teacher, a very young Amy became a student set to learn several difficult life lessons. The results of those sinister teacher-student experiences would change the reality of her psyche forevermore. Yet through the anguish of her trauma, fear, guilt, and shame, she unlocked and set free many additional gifts of self-expression.
Gifts that once lay dormant literally burst from her guts.
In her one-woman auto-biographic show, Passageways, Amy seizes the opportunity to demonstrate all of these gifts. For over an hour, she sings and acts out her story of betrayal turned loyal and her turmoil turned success. Passageways is her confession of determination and survival. She uses her relationship with nature to weave a tapestry through the dark and sometimes confusing forest of trees. Her resolve is to finally get back on her path and rise up into the proverbial healing rays of the sun.
The multimedia piece consists of song, dance, enchanting props, and projected paintings. All of the different mediums are developed by the artist to further tell her story in the most illustrative, visual, and audible ways possible. Though unlike the story, itself, which is well-written and thought-provoking, the music composition competes with the libretto, and in some spots the combination results in a collision that is somewhat hard to watch or listen to. Yet, with careful consideration, this combination – however strange – lends to the chaotic emotion of the story.
A major highlight of the play is the artwork. The paintings and the props such as the (Book) reveal and reflect the inner workings of a mind at the height of its emotional expression. The play utilizes these paintings to take the audience on a turbulent, and narrative stroll through a dreamscape comparable to that of an art gallery.
The question left at the end of the performance is can Amy embrace and step into being an adult? She certainly has the experience to be fully functional and to set an important example for the betterment of our so-called society. What remains so interesting is that Amy manages to give space and a platform to that wounded inner child that lives within so many. Perhaps, Passageways will clear the path for the storyteller to move on from the past, or will it keep her there for the rest of her life?
This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.